Remembering the destructive derecho that hit Richmond 5 years ago

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Thursday, June 29 marks the 5th anniversary of the derecho that tore through 10 states, Washington D.C. and reached Richmond before midnight.

This fast-moving and powerful wind storm traveled 700 miles and impacted an area that was suffering from a heat wave.

Temperatures soared into the hundreds in the Commonwealth and Richmond reached 103 degrees earlier that day.

This hot and humid air mass fueled the derecho as it rushed through the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic along a frontal boundary.

Straight line winds at times were as strong as a Category 1 hurricane. Fredericksburg received a report of a wind gust up to 80 mph as the storm cleared through the area.

The derecho caused numerous downed trees across the area and left over 4.2 million customers without power.

From Illinois to Virginia, 13 people died in the extreme winds, mainly by falling trees. The loss of power led to 34 heat-related deaths following the derecho.

In Virginia, over a million customers lost power. By July 5, close to 90-thousand customers were still without power.

The derecho of 2012 caused more power outages in the Commonwealth than Hurricane Irene in 2011.

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